MyNotes - Crucial Confrontations

It must be my destiny to read the sequel to the blockbuster book on leadership every time; I picked up a copy of Crucial Confrontations thinking it was Crucial Conversations. Although I'll pick up the latter this afternoon, here are my notes on the former. I have to admit that the book, as engaging as it was, didn't capture my interest as much as Susan Scott's Fierce Conversations. That said, there were a few worthwhile points relevant to anyone who has to work in a team setting (e.g. work, marriage, you name it, most of us do unless we're isolated somewhere without technology).

At the office, the books by "Crucial Conversations" and "Crucial Confrontations" are popping up. More straight talk is how I interpret the intent of these books. Often straight talk is exactly what IS lacking in much of what we do in schools. I often think poor teachers don't hear that they ARE poor because we don't want to call down the wrath of union or legal representation (depending on the State of the Union you work in).

Probably the one group of people that get straight talk are campus principals. Not only do they have to engage in straight talk that is "velvet," they have to endure it when their campus fails to measure up.

In that case, we have a simple situation, right? On the one hand we have the staff, on the other the academic measure or standard the children have to live up to. What could be simpler than that?

Some take-aways from Crucial Confrontations:
  1. The hallmark of a crucial conversation is disagreement. . .disagreements poorly handled lead to poor decisions, strained relationship, disastrous results.
  2. Crucial confrontations are about disappointments...made up of failed promises, missed expectations, and all other bad behavior.
  3. To confront means to hold someone accountable, face to face.
  4. Opinion leaders wielded influence because they were the best at stepping up to colleagues, coworkers, or even their bosses, and holding them accountable.
  5. How do you hold a crucial confrontation that, if not handled well, could ruin your career?
  6. When problems arise, in the worst companies people will withdraw into silence. In the best companies, people will hold a crucial confrontation, face to face and in the moment. And they'll hold it well.
  7. A national poll of U.S. workers found that 44% reported putting in as little effort as they could get away with without being fired.
  8. If you find yourself having the same problem-solving discussion over and over again, it's likely there's another more important problem you need to address.
  9. CPR = 
    1. Content-what happened; 
    2. Pattern- what has been happening over time; 
    3. Relationship - What's happening to us. The issue is not that other people have disappointed you repeatedly; it's that the string of disappointments has caused you to lose trust in them. "This is starting to put a strain on how we work together. I feel like I have to nag you to keep you in line and I don't like doing that. I guess my fear is that I can't trust you to keep the agreements you make."
  10. Unbundling: Consequences are what comes after the problem. When you want to clarify the issue you need to confront, stop and ask yourself, 'What are the consequences of this problem to me? To our relationship? To the task? To other stakeholders? Analyzing the consequences helps you determine what is most important to discuss.
  11. Intentions: What came before the person acted is the problem.
  12. Prioritizing: What do you want for yourself, for the other person and for the relationship.
  13. Before moving on to the IF question, make sure to unbundle the problem, picking the issue you care about the most, reduced it to a clear sentence.
  14. How to identify when you are Not speaking when you should: 
    1. Am I acting out of my concerns?; 
    2. Is my conscience nagging me?; 
    3. Am I choosing the certainty of silence over the risk of speaking up?; 
    4. Am I telling myself that I'm helpless?
  15. The truth is that many confrontations fail not because others are bad and wrong but because we handle them poorly.
  16. If you're going to speak up when others remain silent, if you're going to hold people to a standard that differs from that of the masses, get the word out. Differentiate yourself from others.
  17. When you see a violation but move to silence rather than deal with it, 3 bad things happen: a) You give tacit approval to the action; b) Others may think that you're playing favorites; c) Each time the other person repeats the offence, you see the new offense as evidence that your story about his or her motives was correct.
  18. What other sources of influence are acting on this person? What's causing this person to do that? Since this person is rational but appears to be acting either irrationally or irresponsibly, what am I missing?
  19. People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things: a) You don't respect them as a human being (you lack mutual respect); b) You don't care about their goals (you lack mutual purpose).
  20. Contrasting: To deal with predictable misinterpretation when discussing a problem with another person, take these steps: 1) Imagine what others might erroneously conclude; 2) Immediately explain that this is what you don't mean; 3) Explain what you do mean.
  21. AMPP = 
    1. Ask to get the conversation rolling; 
    2. Mirror to Encourage; 
    3. Paraphrase for understanding; 
    4. Prime to make it safe for the other person to open up.
  22. WWWF = Who does WHAT by WHEN - Follow-up
  23. If you find yourself in a crucial confrontation where you're worried about backsliding, never walk away without agreeing on the follow-up time.
Obviously, there's a lot more to the book than the notes I jotted down above.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Click Labs said…
Crucial Confrontations now availabe for you iPhone or iPad. Check this new app and take this amazing book with you everywhere! Download the complete book and audiobook here:
Thanks for the great summary, Miguel. The part I think is crucial for crucial confrontation is TRUST and building trust is a two way process that is not always easy to understand.

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